Sunday, March 15, 2009

Changes In The Works At Nationals Park

Attending The Avon Walk Expo yesterday at Nationals Park, gave The African Queen and I the chance to check out some changes to The South Capitol Street Ballpark as Our Washington Nationals prepare to host Season Two of Major League Baseball there.

Starting Outside--White Triangular Pennant Style Banners have been placed at the Grand Staircase (First Base) Entrance to Nationals Park on Potomac Avenue. Both banners are white in color--one contains a Red Curly "W" and the other depicts The Nationals Park Logo used during The Inaugural Season. But for Season Two--the wording has been changed. Instead of "2008 Inaugural Season", the updated logo reads "Home Of The National Pastime In The Nation's Capital." I am glad they kept the ballpark artwork, with The U.S.Capitol and Washington Monument in the background. I really like that ballpark logo and I hope they keep it for a long time. All of last year's banners depicting players for Our Washington Nationals have been taken down.

Just inside that First Base Entrance Gate--The Walter Kravitz Mobile "The Ball Game" is in final preparation for the 2009 Season. Walter's Engineer, Gary Floyd, was on hand hanging, stringing, balancing and making sure the final piece will be safely hung on the main concourse--first base side. This display is going to be huge when completed. There is still more work to be done--including the final music from "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", but everything seems to be on track for an on time finish before Opening Day--possibly even for the exhibition game on April 4th versus The Baltimore Orioles.

The Red Porch Restaurant is under heavy re-construction in Centerfield Plaza. The north walls to the eatery have been blown out, expanding the seating area with what appears to be window seats looking out on the plaza. We couldn't see well inside the work zone, but it does appears as if the interior of the Red Porch has been completely redesigned. For 2009, The Red Porch will provide more upscale offerings, not just the basic ballpark fare. Our Washington Nationals looking to make The Red Porch a go-to destination during any ballgame--much like what The Red Loft Bar above became for many in 2008.

In The Stars & Stripes Club--better and more durable carpeting has been placed in the heavy traffic areas. Last year, the seams in the original carpet tore and shredded within a few weeks of the very first games played at Nationals Park. This new stuff looks and appears better suited for wear and tear.

No sign yet of the pedestals being placed in Centerfield Plaza to hold the three statues of Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard. Although we were told yesterday, all three are on track to be unveiled during the first week to ten days of April--before Opening Day on April 13th.

And the concrete walkway between The Lexus Presidents Club and The President Club Seats is being refurbished.

We are sure there are more changes in the works. But those are the ones that stood out yesterday on our visit to Nationals Park.


Groundskeeper Willie said...

Nice. said...

SBF, you miss nothing!

BTW I got to see the new Screech interacting with fans tonight at Verizon Center and I think we're going to get used to him quite quickly. And with the improved mobility in this new costume, I expect him to be able to hit you with a t-shirt in your Club-level seats from atop the dugout.

Jay said...


Hardly anyone uses the Potomac Ave entrance.

Why do you think they put those banners up there?

Are they anticipating the water taxi service?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Jay: I believe you are going to see those banners all around the ballpark. They just have to start somewhere. Last year, the player's banners were hung in the same manner.

Anonymous said...

The builders must have really done a bad job laying down that walkway in the Presidents Club if they need to be replacing it already. That had to have been the least tread-upon section of walkway in the entire stadium!

Brandon said...

Thanks for the update. Nice to see our stadium becoming a little less generic.

A shame the first base gate is such a nice entrance, and is minamally used. Could've cut some construction costs there.

6th and D said...

What happened to the monkey grass that was to act as the CF batters eye? It looks like they dug it up. I know that it never took off last season.

Jay said...

Ok, thanks SBF.

By the way, the Nationals did a great job with the history timeline in that area. By putting in the 1859 Nationals club that toured the west and won all those games, they became one of the few teams to have something on the 19th Century baseball.

Actually, they may have even been the first.

Anonymous said...

I've heard on a tour that the monkey grass is going to be replace soon with something that will look better and also grow!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Brandon: The Grand Staircase comes into play significantly when the Anacostia Waterfront Redevelopment comes--whenever that may be.

Anonymous said...

"I've heard on a tour that the monkey grass is going to be replace soon with something that will look better and also grow!"

Good. One only needs to look at the batter's eye in Philly's park to realize that having some nicely grown vegetation there as opposed to the green crap that didn't grow last year will greatly enhance the visual appeal of the ballpark.